How to pickle cucumbers with vinegar

Learn how to pickle cucumbers in the comfort of your home with this simple, family-friendly recipe! Enhance your meals with a burst of flavor by indulging in the homemade goodness of these tangy, crunchy pickled cucumbers.

how to pickle cucumbers

From a young age, my mother taught me how to pickle cucumbers, and throughout the years, I have faithfully followed her cherished recipe, with great success! Homemade pickles have become a delightful addition to our meals and even find their way into our vibrant salads. When the craving for something tangy strikes, I indulge in a slice or two of these delightful pickles.

Not only are pickled cucumbers low in calories, but they also offer a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals. With just about 10 calories per medium-sized cucumber, these pickles make for a guilt-free and satisfying snack!

Pickling cucumbers for long term storage provides a convenient way to preserve cucumbers for several months. I absolutely love pickling cucumbers as well as other vegetables like Pickled Green Tomatoes or red bell peppers. I like canning my own vegetables as I know all ingredients I use are healthy and good for my family, no preservatives or other chemicals involved. In the recipe below I’ll be sharing how to pickle cucumbers with vinegar.

How to pickle cucumbers

How to pickle cucumbers with vinegar

Ingredients you’ll need

  • Fresh pickling cucumbers: these should be firm and without any blemishes. Dill cucumbers, Kirby cucumbers or Gherkin are all great choices.
  • Sugar: Granulated white sugar is the most commonly used for pickling, but you can also experiment with brown or raw sugar for different flavors.
  • Table salt: Make sure to use non-iodized salt as iodine can cause discoloration and a cloudy brine.
  • Black peppercorns: These add a hint of spice to the pickles.
  • Mustard seeds: These add a tangy flavor to the pickles.
  • Vinegar: use white wine vinegar, and do not replace with apple cider vinegar, balsamic or any other type of vinegar, as it will taste completely different – not bad but it will change the recipe.
  • Garlic cloves: These add a subtle garlic flavor to the pickles.
  • Dry bay leaves: These add an earthy and slightly sweet flavor to the pickles.
  • Water: Use filtered or distilled water if possible to ensure a clean taste.

Notes: Sometimes we like adding some fresh dill too. If you don’t have fresh dill, you can use 1/4 teaspoon dill seed per jar. If you like to make this recipe spicy, add some red pepper flakes. And sometimes we love adding a bit of cauliflower and carrots to the jars when making these dill pickles.

Equipment needed:

  • Pickling jars
  • Measuring spoons
  • Large pot
  • Oven

How to pickle cucumbers with vinegar and sugar step-by-step instructions

Preparations

  1. To prepare cucumbers for pickling, start by washing them thoroughly and trimming off the blossom end. Keep only the healthy ones
  2. Then, slice or cut the cucumbers into your desired shape and size. You can leave them whole, slice them into coins or spears, or even spiralize them for a fun twist on traditional pickles. I prefer them as wholes as they stay crisp longer.
  3. Next, soak the sliced cucumbers in ice water for 2 hours to help them stay crisp. Drain and pack the cucumbers into sterilized jars, leaving about 1 inch of headspace at the top.
  4. Sterilize the jars well (here’s an article on the topic).

Pickling the cucumbers

  1. Place the cucumbers in jars (but don’t overcrowd them).
  2. Pour vinegar to the bottom of the jar (about 2 fingers).
  3. Put one teaspoon of sugar and one teaspoon of salt in each jar. If you want to make sweet pickles (or sweeter), add more sugar, 2-3 tablespoons per jar.
  4. Add spices: 2 large bay leaves (or 3 small), about 30 peppercorns and 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, per jar (if you chose to use garlic, put 2-3 cloves per jar at this stage).
  5. Fill with water almost up to the rim.
  6. Tightly screw the lid on.
  7. Place jars in a large pot and cover with water up to the lid.
  8. Bring to boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes.
  9. Leave to cool for 1 hour, without removing from the pot.
  10. Transfer to a baking sheet, bottoms up, and place in a pre heated oven on low, for 15 minutes. They’ll change color which is exactly what you want.

how to make pickled cucumbers

Tips for making perfect pickled cucumbers

  • Use fresh, firm cucumbers for best results. Soft or bruised cucumbers may not hold up well during pickling.
  • Soak the cucumbers in ice water for 2 hours before pickling to help them stay crisp.
  • Experiment with different types of vinegar, such as apple cider or rice vinegar, for unique flavors.
  • Add spices or herbs like dill, garlic, or red pepper flakes to the pickling liquid for added flavor.
  • Make sure your jars and lids are sterilized before canning to prevent bacterial growth.

Recipe variations

If my recipe for pickling cucumbers for long term storage is not entirely what you’re looking for, try some of these variations to create your perfect whole pickled cucumber recipe:

  • For a sweeter flavor, add more sugar or use honey instead.
  • Add different herbs and spices, such as rosemary, thyme, or coriander seeds.
  • Use apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar instead of white wine vinegar for a unique twist on the classic recipe.
  • For a spicier version, add red pepper flakes or sliced jalapeños to the pickling liquid.

What to serve pickled cucumbers with

Pickled cucumbers make for the perfect companion to a variety of dishes. Their tangy and crunchy flavors pair well with rich meats like steak or hearty stews. They also add a pop of flavor to burgers and sandwiches, making them a great condiment. And of course, they are a classic side dish for BBQs and picnics.

I recently made this recipe for 20 minute skillet chicken thighs and the recipe worked great when paired with these pickled cucumbers. In the past we paired these pickles with our slow cooker Bourbon chicken and this amazing crispy buttermilk fried chicken recipe! We also love using them in this potato salad or this chicken and peas salad. So delicious!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I pickle regular cucumbers?

Yes, you can pickle regular cucumbers just like you would pickling cucumbers. However, keep in mind that regular cucumbers tend to have more seeds and thinner skin, which may affect the texture of your pickles. If using regular cucumbers for pickling, make sure they are fresh and firm to ensure a crispier final product.

How do you know when pickles are ready?

You can tell if your pickles are ready by their color, texture and taste. Generally, pickles are ready to eat after 24 hours of being canned or fermented. However, for a stronger flavor, you may want to wait a few days or even weeks before enjoying them. To test the pickles, give them a quick taste or check their texture. If they are tangy and crispy, they are most likely ready to be enjoyed!

How long do homemade pickled cucumbers last?

Homemade pickled cucumbers can last for several months when stored properly. Canning methods, such as water bath canning or pressure canning, can prolong the shelf life of pickles even longer. It’s important to store pickles in a cool, dry place and use proper hygiene practices when handling them to prevent spoilage.

Once opened, homemade pickles should be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within a couple of weeks.

Storage tips

While waiting for the pickles to ferment properly, store the jars upright in a cool, dark place for about a month or so.  I found that these pickles are best to serve after about 1 month. I like to allow them more time in the jar for the best flavor and we usually end up serving all jars within 2-3 months.

But if you’re really in a hurry, you can serve them after 3 weeks. Open a jar and test a pickle for texture and taste. If they’re good, put the pickle jar in the fridge. Once opened, jars should be stored in the fridge.

More recipes you will enjoy

And there you have it, a simple and delicious recipe for homemade pickled cucumbers that will add a burst of flavor to any meal. Get creative with different spices and vegetables to create your own unique pickles. Not only is the process fun and easy, but it’s also a great way to preserve fresh produce and enjoy it throughout the year.

There are probably many recipes out there teaching how to pickle cucumbers but I swear by my mom’s pickled cucumber recipe! It gives such tasty, crisp pickles that are not too spicy or salty. This recipe pickles the cucumbers in vinegar rather than brine (which is also a tasty alternative but quite heavy on sodium). Pickling in vinegar is a less aggressive process. Happy pickling!

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How to make pickled cucumbers
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Homemade pickled cucumbers recipe

Learn how to pickle cucumbers at home with this family-friendly recipe! Add a burst of flavor to your dishes with these tangy, crunchy pickles.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Cooling time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: International
Keyword: dill pickle recipe, how to pickle cucumbers, pickled cucumber recipe, pickled cucumbers, pickled dills
Servings: 3 jars
Calories: 89kcal
Author: Petro Neagu

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs fresh pickling cucumbers
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • peppercorns
  • yellow mustard seeds
  • white vinegar
  • garlic optional to taste; I didn't use as my daughter doesn't like it
  • 6 dry bay leaves large or 9 small
  • water

Equipment

  • 3-4 pickling jars
  • spoon
  • large soup pot
  • oven

Instructions

  • Wash the cucumbers very well and keep only the healthy ones. Sterilize jars well
  • Place cucumbers into jars (don't overcrowd them).
  • Add vinegar to the bottom of the jar (about 2 fingers).
  • Add one teaspoon of sugar and one of salt in each jar. Add 2 large bay leaves (or 3 small), about 30 peppercorns and 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, per jar (if you chose to use garlic, use 2-3 cloves per jar at this stage).
  • Fill with water almost up to the rim. The cucumbers should be covered in water completely.
  • Tightly screw the lid on. Place jars in a large pot and cover with water up to the lids. To prevent the jars from cracking while boiling, add some napkins between the jars or wraps each jar in a napkin.
  • Bring to a rolling boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes. They'll start changing color.
    How to make pickled cucumbers
  • Leave to cool for 1 hour, without removing from the pot. Transfer the jars to a baking sheet, bottoms up, and place in a pre heated oven on low, for 15 minutes. Make sure the lids are tightly sealed and there's no leaking.
  • Leave to cool completely in the oven then store the jars upright in a cool, dry place. They'll be good to serve after about 1 month.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1jar | Calories: 89kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Sodium: 2338mg | Potassium: 824mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 448IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @easy_peasy_creative_ideas or tag #easy_peasy_creative_ideas!

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ABOUT PETRO

Hi, I’m Petro, author and founder of Easy Peasy Creative Ideas. Sewist, crafter, avid DIY-er, foodie, photographer, homemaker and mommy to one. I’m an expert at coming up with quick, clever sewing tips, recycling crafts and simple, easy recipes! You can find my ideas featured in reputable publications such as Country Living, Good House Keeping, Yahoo News, WikiHow, Shutterfly, Parade, Brit & Co and more. Thanks for stopping by and hope you’ll stay for a while, get to know me better and come back another time. Stick around for real fun projects! Read more…

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73 Comments

  1. Karen Yon says:

    I have just made your recipe for the pickled cucumbers but when I put the jars in the oven upside down most of the liquid leaked out leaving just a small quantity in the bottom. Could I put more liquid in to fill them back up? I made these last year and they worked out very nice.

    1. Hi, Karen. Yes, prepare the liquid as per the recipe and pour over the pickles.

  2. What do you consider a “low” temperature for the oven part? Once removed from the oven, should they stay upside down until cooled? I did this recipe last night and it’s a shame that I have to wait a month to see how they turned out but we’ll see. I have so many cucumbers that I would like to do more because it’s so easy but without a taste test, I’m leary about doing more. I would like to do more but make them sweeter and maybe make a dill batch. Anyway, it’s not much labor involved but the cost of mustard seed, wow!! Also, how do you think this would work for sweet peppers. I was given three huge boxes of plabano peppers. I already dehydrated one box but wanted to try pickling some.

    1. 170 is the lowest my gas oven goes, that’s what I use. I leave the jars in the oven to cool.
      I haven’t made pickled sweet peppers myself but mom used to and the recipe is wuite similar. But she used to roast the peppers first and skipped the mustard.

  3. Rae Mosiman says:

    I have reviewed this recipe several times and cannot locate the specific temperature for the oven. You state ‘low’ but what temperature is ‘low’? Would using more vinegar prevent pickle spears from getting too soft?

    1. Rae, it depends on the type of oven you have. It’s usually around 275F or 135C. Adding more vinegar won’t make the pickles crispier, in my experience. This is the best ratio I found success with every time.

  4. sheryl hussey says:

    Can I cut my cucumbers into spears?

    1. You can, Sheryl but they’ll get softer

  5. My garlic has turned blue/green the next day

    1. That’s very strange, Jade! Never heard of this issue. I would check the source of the garlic (and the rest of the ingredients), it definitely should not change color!

      1. mike hitsani says:

        Thanks, I’m glad someone said it lol
        normal things do happen